Encouraging Five Star Linked Data Vocabulary Use at the Semantic Web Journal

After reviewing and publishing numerous linked dataset description and ontology description papers, we came to the conclusion that a journal such as the Semantic Web journal should actively encourage certain procedures that improve the quality and reusability of Linked Data in the future.

While we assume that all linked dataset descriptions published at the SW journal are 5 star Linked (Open) Data as proposed by Tim Berners-Lee, we decided that it is also time to highlight the role of vocabularies in making sense of the data.

Journal publications serve an archival purpose and, as is, many datasets cannot be efficiently understood, queried, and reused due to a lack of a clear vocabulary that makes the meaning of the used terms and relationships explicit.

Thus, recently, we published an editorial about the five stars of Linked Data vocabulary use:

  • - Linked Data without any vocabulary.
  • * There is dereferencable human-readable information about the used vocabulary.
  • ** The information is available as machine-readable explicit axiomatization of the vocabulary.
  • *** The vocabulary is linked to other vocabularies.
  • **** Metadata about the vocabulary is available (in a dereferencable and machine-readable form).
  • ***** The vocabulary is linked to by other vocabularies.

Please note that the star rating is neither about the quality of the data as such, e.g., accuracy and completeness, nor the quality of the vocabulary, e.g., logical consistency. It also makes no statements about the used knowledge representation language and the level of axiomatization. Please also note how the star rating changes from the use of any vocabulary to specific requirements for this vocabulary.

A more detailed motivation, comparison to Berners-Lee stars, and examples are provided in this editorial.

For now we will not mandate a particular star rating for linked datset descriptions published in the Semantic Web journal. However, we strongly encourage authors of dataset description papers to provide details about the used vocabularies, ideally using the 5 star rating provided in the already mentioned editorial.

We hope that this step will contribute to sustaining the great effort invested in Linked Data so far and make this work easier to use by others.

All comments and feedback welcome.


We will list community feedback here, especially links to related approaches: